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How to Write and Sell Articles

Updated on September 3, 2013

How to Write and Sell Articles

If you want to know how to write and sell articles, you're in the right place. It's been over two decades now since I figured out how to do it, but the thrill of an article acceptance has never gone away. I'm mostly asked to write articles in advance now, so I don't work for magazines like I used to; I just write for one or two I like (and the ones that seem to like me!) and even then only occasionally. I can't remember the last time I actually wrote for a magazine, to be honest. And that suits me fine.

Writing is a great part time occupation, but if you work hard at it you have the chance to do it full time. I now take on ghostwriting work and copywriting work, mostly online, and there is no shortage of it once you get yourself out there.

This lens was created to share the story of how I first started to sell my articles. I'm hoping that by doing this I can help you get further along the road towards your own acceptances.

The best advice at this stage? Read on, learn from what I did and persevere. I am now full time, purely because I have so many sources of online writing jobs and magazine work that I can't manage it all part time anymore - so believe me when I say it CAN be done. In the end it all depends on whether you're ready to put in the effort or not. There are plenty of online writing gigs out there for everyone - not to mention all the magazines you can write for as well.

Read this article on how to earn money with online writing, then check back here to find out more.

You can also read another new piece of mine about making sure you are using all the best ways to find online ghostwriting jobs.

Let's get going!

Photo image credit: my own

How I started selling my articles

(otherwise known as a nine month struggle...)

I remember it as if it was yesterday. I sweated blood to get my first article idea, and of course I sent it off to the biggest women's magazine in the country.

With hindsight there was no way it was going to be accepted, but I was still disappointed when it came back just days after I'd sent it.

I can remember the day things changed, and I wrote what would become my first accepted article.

I've long had a love of cats, and in the UK at the time there was a cat magazine with a circulation of around 25,000 readers. I submitted a short 500 word piece to them... and received an acceptance letter just days later.

I remember receiving that envelope. Not a thick one with a manuscript inside, but a thin one that could only contain a letter of acceptance. I got the princely sum of £12.50 for that article, but I was so delighted with my success I sat down and spent the rest of the day writing more articles.

Days later I notched up my second acceptance, and I've never looked back. I've had disappointments, of course, but by and large I've done very well.

You can too.

Read my growing group of writing lenses and benefit from my years of experience. Hey, I'm beginning to sound old now...

Visit Online Freelance Writing Jobs and find out how to get a foot in the door of paid online writing, and check out Online Content Copywriting Jobs to discover a whole world of online writing jobs YOU can apply for today.

What's that saying - the longest journey starts with a single step? Writing is very much like that. But the sooner you start your own journey towards publication, the sooner you'll get there. And when you do, nothing else beats it.

I am now writing e-books, articles and blogs for clients worldwide, and have never been happier. That's what happens when you hone your skills and make the most of them.

A quick poll for you

Have you sold your first article yet?

See results

7 Steps to Getting Your First Article Published and Paid For

Want to get published and paid for it? Lots of people want to know how to write and sell articles - but not all of them are prepared to put the work in that is required to see it happen. That is a shame because it's not as hard to get published as you might think. You just need to make sure you go about it in the right way.

This is what you need to do.

1. Aim low to start with. Don't aim for the huge mass market women's weeklies. They have a lot of competition and beginners are better off to go elsewhere and leave those markets for later.

2. Don't dismiss the internet. There are plenty of websites that will pay for submissions. Do some research to see if there are any you like the look of.

3. Query your ideas before writing the article. This will save you wasting time writing something that doesn't have a solid market.

4. Stick to what you know. There will be plenty of time to branch out later on, but for now you need to make things as easy as possible for yourself.

5. Don't put money first. It's good that you want to get paid for your work, but don't be blinded by dollar signs all the time. Refer back to step one if you need any clarification!

6. Present your work in a professional manner. Find out how the market you want to submit to likes articles to be presented to them and follow it to the letter.

7. Finally, make sure you get your facts right. This refers to every single part of every submission you ever make. Not only should the article be factually correct, but you should also make sure you are sending it to the correct person - and in the correct manner. Do they accept email submissions? Find out before you attach it and email it off.

There is plenty more to writing and selling articles, of course, but if you bear the above seven points in mind you will be off to a roaring start.

Another poll question

Do you agree with the 7 steps outlined above?

See results

Make Money Writing: Write and Sell Articles - by Angela Booth

I subscribe to Angela's email list and every single email has at least one gem of information in it. I thoroughly recommend you find out more about her and her various writing courses and programs.

An excerpt from my 4 step blueprint to selling articles successfully

Introduction:

I wrote this book to help the thousands of struggling writers out there who are trying to get that all important first acceptance under their belts. This book (if you follow the advice given) will speed up your progress and steer you away from making the common mistakes that prevent many people from getting published.

Because the fact is, there's no great mystery to succeeding at article writing. You can do it if you follow the four step blueprint provided within this book. All that is required is to follow it step by step, apply the principles to your own work, and read it often to make sure you are staying on track.

The one thing I cannot provide you with is perseverance. You need to be able to keep going regardless of how many rejection slips you get. You may be a quick learner and only get a few. You may take longer to really get to grips with the principles in this book, and acquire enough slips to paper the loo with. No matter. Perseverance will always - ALWAYS - get you from A to B, whatever the distance between the two points is. Always remember that.

And enjoy the journey. My journey took nine months (and was probably a good deal more painful than the average pregnancy and birth), but I learned such a lot along the way. Yes the rejections were disappointing, but I learned the lessons they brought, and I got there in the end.

And let me tell you, when you finally succeed, and you start to realise the rewards that being a published writer can bring, you'll realise all the hard work and effort (and yes, even the disappointments) is worth it.

So... let's begin to find out more about how to write and sell articles.

The complete four step blueprint is available to buy here.

Promote yourself!

You can't beat a bit of self promotion to get your writing career started.

Part of being a successful writer is getting into the habit of promoting your skills by letting people know you are there - whether that's by having your own website, querying editors with ideas for articles, or applying for jobs you've found on online job boards (look for my Online Freelance Writing Jobs lens in the LensRoll on the right to see how and where to find these jobs right now!).

The good news is, this part gets easier the longer you do it. The trick is getting started!

That's why I've launched a brand new lens called "How to Build a Marketing Blog that Boosts Your Business". It reveals the reasons why you should set up your own blog now if you want to promote yourself as a writer.

There's plenty there to help you get started, and I'll be developing it over time as well, so make sure you bookmark it! I hope you enjoy it and I'd love to hear your feedback.

A poll about promotion

Do you think self promotion is important if you want to sell your articles?

See results

Useful guides for beginning article writers on Amazon

Let's duel on selling articles!

Do you think it is really possible to earn a decent income from writing articles?

Definitely!

Definitely!

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    • Perrin 3 years ago from South Carolina

      Absolutely. If you're focusing on writing articles alone, then you have to stay busy, but you can certainly make a living. If you branch out, though, and pick up some commercial jobs here and there, your earning potential can go up dramatically and become more predictable. Articles are a great way to get started and get some name recognition.

    • Donna Cook 3 years ago

      I certainly hope so!

    • ellies lm 3 years ago

      I love your lens! Let me say, you have covered it all. I am the founder of a women's Christian magazine and always look for women to submit devotionals and articles for our publications. Yes, we pay a small compensation for published work. What I've found to be somewhat discouraging---freelance writers often skip over smaller publications like ours for bigger money. But I still feel good that we give the beginning writer an opportunity to get published. I haven't prepared a lens about our magazine yet. But look for it after the holidays.

    • suepogson 4 years ago

      I hope so!

    • TanoCalvenoa 4 years ago

      Yeah.

    No way.

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        • profile image

          Ronshea 2 years ago

          I say u can make good money too. U done it. I'll like to be able to say i done it too. Lets c u an employee of fine is like paying you something on a article i wrote.That's at least 1. Got my drift. i luv being bill free.

        • CamelliaPenny profile image

          Perrin 3 years ago from South Carolina

          I've written magazine articles off and on for years, both as columnist and as freelancer. You can make good money writing them, if you do it full time.

        • profile image

          Donna Cook 3 years ago

          Terrific lens! I didn't start writing until I retired and joined Squidoo. I never considered freelance work but the more I read about it, the more I think that I can do it. Bookmarking for reference!

        • Arachnea profile image

          Tanya Jones 3 years ago from Texas USA

          Very thorough and informative lens. I enjoyed reading it.

        • profile image

          bgbeautydiaries 3 years ago

          Your advice has helped me gain so much more understanding about the freelance industry. Keep up the great work!

        • tammywilliams09 profile image

          tammywilliams09 3 years ago

          It was great that you loved Cats and used that passion to write and sell articles in that niche. Thanks for sharing your tips.

        • suepogson profile image

          suepogson 4 years ago

          Great lens nad I echo AilynK's question below.

        • profile image

          anonymous 4 years ago

          now... where do you sell your articles?

        • JohnGcorner profile image

          JohnGcorner 4 years ago

          Great info for beginners, I'm sure this has helped 100s or even thousands of people to make some money. Keep it up!

        • profile image

          anonymous 4 years ago

          Helpful lens !

        • wiseriverman profile image

          wiseriverman 4 years ago

          I found this to be very valuable information. I'm bookmarking it and reading it over so that it all sinks in.

          Thanks!

        • profile image

          ConvenientCalendar 4 years ago

          Great lens! Great advice!

        • profile image

          anonymous 4 years ago

          Great lens

        • profile image

          SteppingRasor 4 years ago

          Very, very good. Thanks.

        • Louidam1 LM profile image

          Louidam1 LM 4 years ago

          Thanks for the great advice!

        • profile image

          bskcom 4 years ago

          Thanks for your advice. You make it sound more promising to sell articles.

        • TreasuresBrenda profile image

          Treasures By Brenda 4 years ago from Canada

          Yes, a great resource for anyone wanting to write and sell articles.

        • profile image

          anonymous 4 years ago

          I think you have excellent information for those wanting to get their feet wet writing and selling articles, thank you for sharing your wisdom and knowledge gained from experience.

        • profile image

          acreativethinker 4 years ago

          So much great advice here. This sounds like a very helpful lens. Thanks for sharing. Take Care :)

        • ThisisMissyMiss profile image

          Mommy 4 years ago from The Fabulous Midwest

          Promoting yourself comes naturally after awhile, but many writers hate it at first. Thankfully I had a marketing background before I switched to writing.

        • Allison Whitehead profile image
          Author

          Allison Whitehead 4 years ago

          @aesta1: Yes it was a moment I'll never forget. The acceptance meant far more than the money ever could. Thank you so much for the blessing!

        • aesta1 profile image

          Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

          I felt your joy when you got that 12.50.

        • Allison Whitehead profile image
          Author

          Allison Whitehead 4 years ago

          @martinho: Glad you like the lens. Good luck with your writing!

        • profile image

          martinho 4 years ago

          This has got my mind boggling. great tips too.

        • victoriahaneveer profile image

          victoriahaneveer 4 years ago

          I've made a career out of being a freelance writer and it's mostly rewarding (apart from those irritating people who ask me when I'm going to get a "proper job" instead of "playing around writing bits" - snarl!) I agree with all your advice on this lens. Good job!

        • sudokunut profile image

          Mark Falco 4 years ago from Reno, Nevada

          There's a lot of great advice here. Starting with the smaller publications sounds like a really good idea. I guess if you get turned down there is always an online outlet for those articles like Squidoo or your own blogs so any effort wouldn't be wasted even if you don't have articles accepted by magazines.

        • SandyMertens profile image

          Sandy Mertens 4 years ago from Frozen Tundra

          Very good information.

        • profile image

          anonymous 4 years ago

          GOOOD Information here! Your readers might be interested in making decent money for their articles over at expertspages.com

        • HarrietC LM profile image

          HarrietC LM 4 years ago

          Nice and informative, just the way I like it =) Thanks.

        • Allison Whitehead profile image
          Author

          Allison Whitehead 4 years ago

          @anonymous: The best bet is to find out the terms of payment before you write anything. That way you'll know whether the company/person you're writing for is suitable in your situation. Best of luck!

        • profile image

          anonymous 4 years ago

          I love this business. The problem here is how do I get paid in Nigeria if I write to a company in US, etc? And most importantly, how will I know when my article is accepted by such a company?

        • Allison Whitehead profile image
          Author

          Allison Whitehead 4 years ago

          @favored: Thank you for your comment and the blessing - much appreciated!

        • favored profile image

          Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

          Good suggestions and tips to follow. I appreciate it.

        • Allison Whitehead profile image
          Author

          Allison Whitehead 4 years ago

          @flinnie lm: Thanks Flinnie!

        • flinnie lm profile image

          Gloria Freeman 4 years ago from Alabama USA

          Thanks for the info and tips.

        • Allison Whitehead profile image
          Author

          Allison Whitehead 5 years ago

          @poorwendy lm: Yes I've thought of that as a starter for finding new clients - haven't thought of a good way to do it yet though!

        • poorwendy lm profile image

          poorwendy lm 5 years ago

          I've been researching Fiverr as a place to sell services, including writing. That could be another resource.

        • cynthiannleighton profile image

          cynthiannleighton 5 years ago

          @anonymous: You can get practice over at Street Articles -

          (1) they're really good about telling you why they reject an article

          (2) you get a community of people sharing what your article helped with

          (3) practicing will help you learn skills you need to do your testing

          You can get practice at EzineArticles too but the "bar" to jump over is higher.

        • Allison Whitehead profile image
          Author

          Allison Whitehead 5 years ago

          @anonymous: Hi Michael,

          Learning and perseverance are the best two things you can do; it took me a good few months to get work online but once I did it became easier. I don't use ODesk - you could try Elance or something similar instead?

          Best,

          Allison

        • profile image

          anonymous 5 years ago

          Thanks for the info. I'd like to know more about freelance writing because I've been having difficulties trying to pass the readiness test odesk offers its members. I've tried to get a better score all to no avail. Tell how I should go about this; the easiest and fastest way I mean. Michaelchuka. E-mail michael_ogbonna@yahoo.com

        • profile image

          anonymous 5 years ago

          Thanks for the info. I'd like to know more about freelance writing because I've been having difficulties trying to pass the readiness test odesk offers its members. I've tried to get a better score all to no avail. Tell how I should go about this; the easiest and fastest way I mean. Michaelchuka. E-mail michael_ogbonna@yahoo.com

        • cynthiannleighton profile image

          cynthiannleighton 5 years ago

          Nice lens! You do a good job of explaining the writing process and how to sell your articles. Hmm. You might want to write a bit of a longer article as a Kindle book! That's becoming popular now. From Beginning to Advanced? Here's an example Advanced Article Marketing kindle - from Amazon, so you could even sell it here? http://www.amazon.com/Advanced-Article-Marketing-D... blessings - Cynthia

        • blogalexg profile image

          Alex Graham 5 years ago

          Excellent lens! More power to cat lovers!

        • jballs6 profile image

          jballs6 5 years ago

          Some really helpful ideas here, glad I found your lens as this is something I have been thinking about for a while

        • Virginia Allain profile image

          Virginia Allain 5 years ago from Central Florida

          It's always interesting to hear how writers got their start. Sounds like you are doing quite well in your chosen field.

        • profile image

          MidnightSunRC 5 years ago

          Nice reading for a beginner

        • TolovajWordsmith profile image

          Tolovaj Publishing House 5 years ago from Ljubljana

          Thanks for sharing your experience. I am writer who tries to expand his off line presence on the web too and I am glad there are so many success stories out there despite severe competition and low payments. You are right. We have to persist and never look back. Thumbs up!

        • profile image

          drjohnymartin 5 years ago

          This Lens Have good and useful writing information

          i love it , Thanks

        • ionee251 profile image

          ionee251 5 years ago

          This lens is so inspiring. I love it.

        • profile image

          queen2010 5 years ago

          Nice lens, hoping you can visit one of my lens , thanks much

        • profile image

          queen2010 5 years ago

          Nice lens, hoping you can visit one of my lens , thanks much

        • profile image

          CMSCoventry 5 years ago

          some good honest advice in this article - especially about starting out

        • dwnovacek profile image

          dwnovacek 5 years ago

          Very useful lens - Angel Blessed!

        • profile image

          Joe3Louis 5 years ago

          There is so much information on how to stay motivated. Thanks for letting us know what it takes to stay with it .even when at times we just want to give up and say forget it. Staying motivated is the hardest thing to do when frustration sets in. Thanks Joe

        • SoniaCarew profile image

          SoniaCarew 5 years ago

          Great lens, great information.

          Thanks!

        • profile image

          anonymous 5 years ago

          Great lens! Lots of good, inspirational advice to getting started. I would suggest that new writers check out Constant Content. Articles tend to sell for more there, and the editorial feedback on every piece can help you grow as a writer. Plus, there are many customers ready to buy articles and use them online, which can help you build your portfolio quickly.

        • bead at home mom profile image

          Teri Hansen 5 years ago

          thank you for sharing your knowledge in this. It's obvious you get that sharing is more profitable than not. As a new writer I value your suggestions and experience in making my way around this new community. I have featured this lens in my 'labor day squidoo angel quest'.

        • profile image

          JoeSteinbeck 5 years ago

          Wish I was a better writed, and I'd be all about this :)

        • Charmcrazey profile image

          Wanda Fitzgerald 6 years ago from Central Florida

          Sounds like a perfect roadmap of how to make some money, especially in this economy. Great ideas.

        • bames24 lm profile image

          bames24 lm 6 years ago

          nice lens... Thanks for sharing :)

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          great lens, thank you for share it.

          http://www.bignewsarticles.com/

        • elhuntley lm profile image

          elhuntley lm 6 years ago

          Very helpful lens for us writers who want to be paid for our work.

        • franstan lm profile image

          franstan lm 6 years ago

          Great lens

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          Thanks for your sharing for great useful....

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          Writing is a great part time job.Thanks for sharing. strategic planning software

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          WOW! I run an article writing website, http://sellmyarticles.com where I offer free tools and resources for writers, but the step-wise direction you have provided is seemingly way more useful for newbie writers! Do check out my site anyway: SELL MY ARTICLES

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          great content!!

        • profile image

          TheBlairGroup 6 years ago

          Great article!

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          great lens.....

          that is my new articles directory Big News Articles

        • profile image

          kanivel 6 years ago

          Hi, Thanks for the information. In the same way I was referred by a squidoo article to Triond.com, where they publish my article and pay for the number of views it gets. I was excited in the beginning, and joined Triond immediately. I have submitted 5 articles, and then only came to know that they pay only $1 per 1000 views of my article. That too is not payable every month. They pay only if my earning exceeds 50 dollars. BUt before it happens, I will get old & die. I'm tired of searching for a good site where I can sell my article for a decent price.

        • franstan lm profile image

          franstan lm 6 years ago

          Informative lens

        • UKGhostwriter profile image

          UKGhostwriter 6 years ago

          Wonderful lens - a thumbs up from me!

        • Allison Whitehead profile image
          Author

          Allison Whitehead 6 years ago

          @dwnovacek: Thanks for the blessing! Much appreciated!

        • dwnovacek profile image

          dwnovacek 6 years ago

          Informative and well-presented lens. Blessed by your neighborhood Squid Angel!

        • Allison Whitehead profile image
          Author

          Allison Whitehead 6 years ago

          @WorldVisionary: Thank you for your blessing!

        • profile image

          WorldVisionary 6 years ago

          You gave plenty of great resources. I enjoyed your lens. Blessed by a Squid Angel

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          hi...

          Good information!

          You can try this site to sell your articles or content-

          www.newscollective.com

          They have got a great network of Journalists and Publishers worldwide.

        • profile image

          jgelien 6 years ago

          Thanks for all the great advice! I am favoriting your lens so I can refer to it again when I need information. Thanks for sharing.

        • ssuthep profile image

          ssuthep 6 years ago

          Great tips on writing and selling articles for profit.

        • ZablonMukuba profile image

          ZablonMukuba 6 years ago

          this is great, i write articles for websites. thanks for the information

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          it is interesting i have red it, and felt happy about it...

          Thank you from http://www.bestfreelancedesigners.com

        • profile image

          Millie02 6 years ago

          Interesting lens, I have learned something today

        • profile image

          anonymous 6 years ago

          Articles are extremely popular among SEO experts. It increases traffic to our site, it is a powerful advertising tool. It will help us cater to our targeted market. You share a nice lens with Best Business Directory team.

        • profile image

          rajeshnetsurveys 6 years ago

          Dear,

          It's been very informative. I'd been wandering in the dark since the tried to do something here. Now, at least I think I know where to head. It's been great buddy. Thanks again. Great going.

        • profile image

          KeagansKorner 7 years ago

          I enjoyed your lens, thanks for sharing!

        • norma-holt profile image

          norma-holt 7 years ago

          Another nice lens on this topic. *-*Blessed*-* and featured on Sprinkled with Stardust and also on How to Write Well

        • profile image

          anonymous 7 years ago

          Is there any way to sell poetry? also how do you copyright an article?

        • profile image

          contentcreator 7 years ago

          Great info there :)

        • profile image

          anonymous 7 years ago

          Question, I am 70 years young and have written a few articles of wisdom that I have experienced in my life that I think would benefit lots of people. I would like to sell them and don't have much expertise on the internet. I am copywriting them and would ask if you or one of your affiliates would work with me on this? thanks johne

        • Allison Whitehead profile image
          Author

          Allison Whitehead 7 years ago

          Hi John! The best way to sell your articles would be to submit them to a site called Constant Content (http://www.constant-content.com). You can set your own prices and submit articles on all kinds of subjects too. This is the best tactic to use if you have already written them. Good luck and best wishes.

        • profile image

          APlus 7 years ago

          I enjoyed your lens. I like the phrase earning money one word at a time. The main thing we need to remember is to focus on content. If we have good content on our blogs, we will have readers. Keep up the great work. If you want to share an article, come to my Article Directory

        • profile image

          Novice-CopyWriter 7 years ago

          I think anyone can follow these steps,i have done little work to give small tips for beginner about copywriting in my lens www.squidoo.com/freecopywritingtips

        • EditPhotos profile image

          Edit Photos 7 years ago from Earth

          Great lens. 6 stars - 5 plus a blessing!

        • profile image

          anonymous 7 years ago

          Impressive!Convincing too.One quotation i like very much tells how one can not live long enough to make all the mistakes every other person has made, just learn from them. And, when you learn from seasoned veterans, you see far beyound the horizon. But, have you, as a seasoned veteran, considered ever taking a bow and handing over the mantle? Well, maybe not until you no longer can type or hold the pen! But there is nothing to fear,lots of ingenious original content writers are just waiting to be in your shoes.

          Thanks.

        • profile image

          anonymous 7 years ago

          A great lens for aspiring writers - easy to read and some excellent advice.

          www.thearticletrader.com

        • profile image

          anonymous 8 years ago

          Great lens. I'm still just as excited about every acceptance letter (and, it must be said, *nearly* as distraught about every rejection) since the first.

          It's important to just keep at it and never give up. I have a lens on getting more writing done in less time and remaining motivated throughout which might help your readers: http://www.squidoo.com/writemore.

          Well done!

          Mark

        • profile image

          Dadministrator 8 years ago

          Great information for getting started and organizing yourself around deriving value from articles online. Selling articles can be tricky, especially without controls for copyright infringement or without a good marketspace to gauge pricing against. Here's a promising service that's another good resource to post, price, and sell articles that purchasers can also review - www.topicwrite.com.

        • profile image

          GreenErGlobe 8 years ago

          Thank you Allison. Your lens is smart and helpful. I've lensrolled it and will be reading a lot more of your work.

          You can view a bit of mine at: How To Write Web Content The Old Fashioned Way

        • profile image

          moneyman17 8 years ago

          Your tips certainly are top-notch. so i want to Invite you to visit and submit your articles to

          Free Content Articles Directory visit my lens

          Articles Marketing